Announcement – GEO-IGOS Symposium: “The Need for Earth Observations: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow”

Washington Monument

Washington Monument

Baird Auditorium, Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
Thursday, 19 November 2009, Washington DC, USA

To address the challenges of global environmental change, policy-makers and managers need timely access to weather forecasts, climate predictions, satellite images of land-use change, water-cycle data, biodiversity indicators, seismographic information, topographical maps and many other Earth observation products and services. The GEO-IGOS Symposium will explore how the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS) can help to meet these critical user needs.

The Symposium will celebrate the accomplishments of the former Integrated Global Observing Strategy Partnership (IGOS-P) and its successful transition into the Group on Earth Observations (GEO). It will consider how the GEO Communities of Practice that have inherited the IGOS-P mandates can build on these accomplishments over the next few years. In this way, the Symposium will seek to identify best practices for Communities of Practice as well as emerging user needs that a rapidly evolving GEOSS may need to address.

The IGOS Partnership was established in 1998 to bring together a wide range of organizations committed to strengthening space-based and in-situ Earth observations. With the emergence of GEO with its high-level political mandate, the IGOS Partners decided last year to transition the IGOS Themes into GEO, thus broadening international collaboration on the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS) that is being developed by GEO.

Established In 2005, the Group on Earth Observations (GEO) boasts 120 member governments and participating international organizations. GEO is interlinking and strengthening the world’s Earth observation systems in order to address nine key Societal Benefit Areas: disasters, health, energy, climate, water, weather, ecosystems, agriculture and biodiversity. GEOSS is already starting to provide many of the Earth observation products and services decision-makers so urgently need.

The Symposium will be held immediately after the GEO-VI Plenary meeting and will be attended by many members of the GEO community. For the latest information on logistics, registration and the programme of the Symposium, please visit

The Programme

“The Need for Earth Observations: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow”

Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
Baird Auditorium
19th November, 2009
Washington DC, USA

National Museum of Natural History

National Museum of Natural History

08:15 Registration

Morning Session

Chair – Gregory Withee, USGS
Celebration of Achievements and Current Status

09:00 Welcome and Introduction of the Symposium, Gregory Withee, USGS

09:15 Welcoming Remarks from the US, Sherburne Abbott, OSTP

09:30 Welcoming Remarks from GEO, José Achache, GEO Secretariat Director

09:45 Key Note speech: Designing the Way Forward: Challenges and Future Developments, Roy Gibson, former Director-General of ESA

10:30 Coffee Break

Chair – Stuart Marsh, BGS

11:00 Implementing IGOS through GEO, Stuart Marsh, BGS

11:30 Importance of Science in GEO, Prof. Deliang Chen, ICSU

11:50 Water Community of Practice, Toshio Koike, Univ. of Tokyo

12:10 Carbon Community of Practice, Philippe Ciais, Laboratory for Climate Sciences and the Environment, CEA-CNRS, France

12:30 Lunch

Baird Auditorium

Baird Auditorium

Afternoon Session

Chair – Bob Scholes, CSIR
The Way Forward

14:00 Agriculture Community of Practice, Chris Justice, Geography Department of University of Maryland, UMD

14:20 Geohazards Community of Practice, Stuart Marsh, BGS

14:40 Ocean Theme, Eric Lindstrom, NASA

15:00 Cryosphere Community of Practice, Jeff Key, NOAA

15:20 Coastal Zone Community of Practice: Facilitating Decision Support through GEOSS for Mitigation of and Adaptation to Climate Change Impacts, Paul DiGiacomo, NOAA

15:40 Coffee Break

Chair – Gilberto Camara, INPE

16:10 The GEO Biodiversity Observation Network: An Example of an Emerging Community of Practice, Bob Scholes, CSIR

16:30 Informing Policy and Decision Making, Gilberto Camara, INPE

16:50 Concluding Remarks, José Achache, GEO Secretariat

17:30 Adjourn